Hungry Eaters Opt for Starches, Protein

A new study found that subjects who fasted for 18 hours tended to eat starches and protein first, vegetables second

Here's another complication in the issues of obesity and food insecurity. Past studies have found a link between the two issues, and now a study might explain why.

Researchers found that when participants had an 18-hour fast before their next meal, 75 percent started their meal with either a starch or protein.

Published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, Fox News reports, the study shows that only 25 percent of the fasting participants chose vegetables, whereas 56 percent of non-fasting subjects started their meal with vegetables.

In fact, 35 percent of fasters chose a starch to start off their meal, while 13 percent of the non-fasters chose starches (like french fries).

While the order of eating might not seem that important, researchers also pointed out that eaters in general tend to eat more of the first food they consume. The subjects in the study ate about 47 percent more calories from their first course.

So what does this mean for the health policies? Researchers suggest that hospitals and cafeterias serving people who are food-deprived, should work on making vegetables more visible, and reduce the serving size of starches. Past research indicates that traffic light labeling could also help point eaters in the right (healthy) direction.

Jessica Chou is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @jesschou.